George Washington Hickman

By Josiah Edwin Hickman

He was born March 12, 1825, in Randolph County, Missouri, near what is now St. Joseph. His parents were Edwin T. and Elizabeth Adams Hickman. Tradition has it that his mother (Elizabeth Adams) was a cousin of John Adams the president of the U.S. His mother died at the age of 92 but his father lived until he was 98 or 99.

George W. Hickman, my father, was raised and educated in Missouri, and was a teacher for 3 or 4 years in Missouri and Mississippi, then he went to Cincinnatti, Ohio, and studied medicine in the Electric Medical College. This college was closed but a few years ago. At the age of 31 or 32 he came to Utah with his brother Jefferson to visit their brother William A. Hickman, who was a Mormon and lived at West Jordan. While my father and his brother Jeff were here, the U.S. army was sent against the Mormon people. It was claimed that this people were in rebellion. The people realized the terrible falsehoods told against them and they refused to allow the army to come in the valleys until an understanding was had and rigid promises made by Governor Cumming who had supplanted Brigham Young as governor. When my father and his brother Jeff realized the threatened condition of war they attempted to return to Missouri, but they were caught by the scouts of the Army and taken prisoners and were to be tried as spies for the Mormons. My father arranged for his brother to escape one dark night and successfully eluded arrest and made his way back to his home in Missouri after much privation. My father was left behind to be court marshaled but when the scouting Mormon army produced an alarm amidst the U.S. Army thru burning their great wagon trains loaded with provisions and clothing, also due to the Mormon scouts driving off the armyís beef cattle, they liberated my father after 3 or 4 months imprisonment without being tried. He then turned his steps back to the valleys and the Mormon people.

He felt that such a people as the Mormons, with their sincere honest and high ideals, could not live so without good reasons. Thus he set himself about studying their religion. He read all their work, also the Bible and became deeply convinced that they were Godís people and joined their religion. He told me that he did little else for a year that read and study the people before joining this church.

He met my mother in Provo and after months of courtship they were married at Salem, December 25, 1858. They lived there until four of their children were born and then they moved to Stewartís Ranch, now Benjamin and lived there until after my fatherís death in 1893. He died of pneumonia November 24, 1893, at the age of 69. After that mother spent most of her time in Provo and finally sold the old home in Benjamin and built herself a beautiful bungalow in Provo and died there May 28, 1921.

My father did not practice his medicine much after he joined the church, largely due to the disfavor of most of the people against doctors. Yet when epidemics would occur he gave his entire time to the sick. He was always ready to give surgical aid when needed. He was offered in the early days the position of resident surgeon in Salt Lake, but innate modesty caused him to decline this splendid offer due to an oversensitive estimation of his own ability. A phrenologist, years after the above event read my fatherís head and said that he was a misfit as a farmer, but a man of supreme intelligence who could have been an excellent surgeon, an attorney, or could have graced the supreme bench of the U.S. with dignity. May I say that my father was a stranger to the phrenologist when his head was read.

My father was a soul of honor strictly honest, a lover of chastity and sincerity. I never heard him speak ill of his fellow men nor would he allow his family to indulge in harmful gossip. He was ever a peacemaker and when the village ward would fail in bringing peace and agreement between contending brethern, he has been chosen as sole arbitrator between discordant factions and never did he fail in his task in giving satisfaction to all concerned.

For many years before his death he was a high priest without blemish, honored and revered by those who knew him. He believed in Godís prophets ancient and modern and watched with deep fidelity the unfolding prophecies. He read the signs of the times with alertness and scanned the mental horizon of a conflicting world with the faithful sincerity of an astronomer sweeping the deeps for approaching comets.

In the year of about 1860 he went back to the States on a short term mission for a year to visit his people and try and convert them. He sowed the seeds of this gospel in their souls though they did not accept it in this life. In 1884 he did the work in Logan Temple for his dead kindred. In his patriarchal blessing he was promised that he and his brother William would save all their fatherís household. Through their work in the temple and the Endowment House they have made it possible for the fulfillment of his blessing. All honor to my beloved father and mother.